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tv   [untitled]    February 18, 2011 2:30pm-3:00pm PST

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that built my confidence, grandmother and ggrandfather were from the old school. i can remember borrowing $25 from my grandmother. i was taking out my checkbook to pay her. she said no, darling, don't give me a little piece of paper. what did i give you. i said a 20 and a 5. so bring me that. they went to the light company and paid their light bills. they went to the department store and paid whatever. they went there once or twice a week to take care of business. the process of going through things, my grandmother would take me to the library.
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all along the way there were places where we couldn't go to the andrew jackson hotel, we couldn't go to morten's cafeteria. there was a paramount theatre, we had to go in the back door, separate water fountains. it was a very negative experience. when i got to the library, right above the door, all are welcome. i could go in the front door. i could remember the librarian, she had a bonnet on the back of her head. very sensible shoes. i look at librarians today,
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that is how they look. she always spoke in a whisper. didn't talk out loud in the library. whispered. she was so kind to me that i loved librarians. when they ask me to do something, it is hard for me to say no. and that is why i flew in the dark at night from atlanta to come out here. [laughter]. but it is because of that generosity of the national public library. so i went there to get my books and i would bring them home and read all 3. then the next week i would take them back to the library. i would read often. when you read better, you read success. i credit the national public library with my successes as a
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young reader and a young writer. my grandfather had 2 books on his shelf. one was king james version of the bible, the other was bull finch's mythology. it was that thick and on the mantle. i can see it as clearly as i am looking at them now. keu remember looking at the pictures and beginning to pick through some of the stories. and i learned to love those stories and if you read my books as a collection, and some people have, you will see that those 2 books inform most of my writings in subtle ways, not overt, in subtle ways you can see those books and the influence that they have on my
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writing. daddy james would tell store reus about little girls named sara and pat and little boy named nollin and one he told in particular was one of my favorites. the 3 kids had a chore for the grandmother. take a basket of eggs to a neighbor's house. along the way they were confronted by a wolf, bear, snake, and fox. is they tricked that fox, and the bear and got them to the woods. it is a long, long summer and i don't have a contract, i said, maybe i'll try to write something, never written a picture book before.
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i sat at the word processor, i'll write my grandfather books. all 16 pages. it is usually 6 to 7 pages long. i sent it to my editor anne swarts. she was at thow publishing books. at the time she was at dial. she was right out of college and a reader. she wrote my manuscripts. she said it has possibility. there is a story in there but
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way too much going on. you have 3 kids, a grandmother, a grandfather, you got a bear, a snake, a wolf, and fox. a dog, cat, and a neighbor, way too much going on. if you'd like to rewrite it and shorten it some what and i'd be glad to look at it again. but that is not my grandfather's story. i can't do that. i thought i don't have a contract. i said i'll get rid of my brother and sister. [laughter]. and i'll keep myself. and i'll get rid of the wolf, bear, and snake and keep the fox because i like his voice. i dare say a little girl like
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you should be simply terrified of me. whatever do they teach children in school these days? whatever you are, you sure think of heap of yourself as she skipped away from the fox leaving him to prove that he really was who he said he was. before long she came to a tree there were flowers and she picked wild flowers, this fox fled up beside her. prepare to be frightened. i am a fox because i have 6 luxurious furs. he leaned over for me to stoke his back. it is soft. it feels just like rabbit's fur.
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you are not a fox, you are a rabbit all the time trying to fool me. did you hear her call me a rabbit? a mere bunny. i have you know young lady, i am a fox of rare breed. i am rated some of the finest hen houses from franklin to madison. i am a fox and you'll act accordingly. she put her hands on her hip and said [inaudible] she skipped away leaving the fox dumbfounded. got all the way through the woods tricking that fox. he had been reduced to sniffling and crying. he was a pitiful mess. give me once last chance i am certain i can prove it.
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about that time [inaudible] came through the woods. you can see it a little ways in the distance. fox didn't notice a thing. he was begging to be believed. wait, wait here it is. i am a fox, he said yes, yes. sometimes he could run. it doesn't matter what i think anymore. it doesn't matter anymore. you have sharp teeth and can run fast. by the way he is looking all over for you. if fox dashed towards the woods, not to worry, the hound dog knows who i am.
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i have been out running that old miserable mutt for years like i told you i am a fox. i know. i know. she turned toward ms. viola's with a basket of eggs. i rewrote it and sent it back and it was 7 pages long. that was the beginning of our relationship. we have done many picture books together. i did randy and brother wind which was one of jerry [inaudible] honor books. i have done my dearest apron.
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the latest one is [inaudible] the women of [inaudible] bend. these are about the women that made those wonderful quilts all over the world. alabama, the poorest county in the depression. the women made these quilts because they needed to keep her children warm and would stack them to make a mattress. they covered the tables with them, they used them for their children to crawl on when they would go outside and have picnics. they used the quilts for everything, small ones and large ones. now today, those quilts are going for 25,000 and more.
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it was my pleasure to go to g's bend and had the opportunity to quilt with them. my next picture book, i will share this with you and it is called never gotten. i would like to share it because this is something that had been in the process for about 20 years. i have been asking every west african that i have met, did you miss us? what i meant by that was are there stories in your culture that talk about the ones who were taken away? did you tell stories? did you sing songs, poetry, any
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remnant of anything i could use to tell a story that comes from that side over the year where you looked and longed for us the way we looked and longed? in all those years, i did not find one story, didn't find one song. i am sure they are there, but i was unable to find them. i said okay, instead of whining and wondering, i'll do it myself. it is reason in free verse and about black smith, west african black smith. they were thought to be magicians.
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1725, oh molly in the west africa. the drums -- be ware of sea birds, be ware of men that steal up the river through the great forest. and into the savannah lands. the moans and groans, hundreds, thousands stolen, we rarely speak the taken, i will this time because you have asked. come back, back, back, far edge of memory. we recall them and they are black smith, by all accounts a master craftsman, worthy of praise, honored as a powerful magician.
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one who could speak the old names of the mother elements, earth, fire, water, wind. they would do as bidding, think. people sing praise songs. he was a gifted black smith. he is not remembered for that. he is best remembered for being a loving father. when his beloved wife died only after a year and embraced his newborn son, i will raise you myself. the elder women with argued against it saying you'll grow up wild without a gentle hand of a mother, a gentle hand to guide him. must divide by custom, take
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another wife or give the baby to a mother who is childless. how will you feed the baby? you have no milk to give. dinka would not change his mind. the tortoise doesn't have milk to give but knows how to take care of its young. shamelessly he tied the baby on his back like a woman and headed for his forge at the place where 7 generations of his clan had once stood. he set his feet firmly on the ground and called to earth, takoma, thank you for yielding up the ore from your underground storehouse of treasure. he lit the fire in his porch
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and called to fire, tokumbi thank you for making the ore plyable for i might shape it. thank you for setting the iron and making it strong. dinka fanned the bellows and the fire rows began and called to win, thank you for revising fire and keeping my brow cooled in the heat of the day and lifting his arms in praise, dinka cried come now elders behold my beloved son. mother earth appears first ageless and forever beautiful, she kissed the baby and spoke softly, see how he grabs my
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finger. already strong like my mountain son. i a woman leaped into the air and swirled majestically in a flaming red. it is a sign he will be an inspired leader inspiring and courageous. she blew the child a warm kiss that made him cool. sang to the child in old lull hra byes. a boy has come and laughter has come. a son has come and beauty has come. then the child gurgled and replied even now i can hear the music in his voice. suddenly wind spirits swished in turning and made the baby
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happily, we'll dance through the tall grass as you and i forever free. he is taken, he is taken aboard the ship and the elements go out and look for him and they do find him in, win finds him in south carolina in charleston, earth went looking for him. after earth fire, she could not get passed the fire. water follow it had ship and wind was able to go across and follow and find him. it was after many years that wind was able to find him. i'll read that last part.
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[inaudible] all living in the americas, i saw the taken shackled to the land from sun up to sun down working tobacco, sugar cane and rice. i listen to them tell stories different but strangely familiar. now prayer rabbit. i stopped by kitchens and watched our women with cook yams, rice, oh kra and beans. our children had not forgotten. and i rejoice, led by the sound of a black smith's hammer, i travel to charleston, south carolina, john shannon, black smith. a large european with red hair,
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comfortable. they were apprentices to all africans new and old, familiar yet fresh. i have sold another of your beautiful gape with the rice design, how did you learn to craft so well? a young man stepped into the light. i learned by reaching back with one hand and stretching forward with the other he said. people said you are a genius. my father dinka was the genius replied the apprentice. he taught me what 7 generations have learned, i am the 8th.
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i had bound [inaudible] who answers to moses shannon. both mean safe water. he seems more confident now, wiser. playful mostafa. i had so much to tell him, he could not see me. he could not see me or hear me in this strange land. he touched the spotting smiles. [inaudible] with birds, flowers and animals inspired.
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i turned to someone tell moses, shannon is going to free you one day. they can find joy, [inaudible] in my mind, i have always been free. free as the wind, thank you so much. [applause].
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>> welcome to "culturewire." for the past year, the arts commission has been participating in the city's effort to revitalize the central market street corridor. in addition to the thursday arts market and are in store front, the art commission recently launched the artery project. for the next year, the artery project will bring energy and excitement to market street, recalling the st.'s heyday as san francisco's vibrant and bustling theater district. >> un.n plaza during business hours seize hundreds of passing office workers and students, but the activity winds down at 5:00 every day. theater productions bring some
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but traffic, but central market is more of a thoroughfare than a destination after the sun goes down. on december 9, the artery project's launch brought a party atmosphere to market street, led by mayor gavin newsom, city officials flipped the switch on three new art installations that light up the st.'s architecture. a looping a video at 1119 market street was the first words to be some -- the first work to be seen that evening. before the unveiling, the director of cultural affairs spoke to artist jim campbell about the concepts behind bourbon reflection and how he created the work. >> i'm really excited to have your installation on public view starting today here on market street. you created a site-specific work. can you talk about that? >> yes, i looked at two or three different locations, and this one seemed the best.
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i work with customer electronics, so indoors seemed the best for the work. i also like how close it was 2 market street itself. it is only about 10 feet away, so i chose this location. >> what is the duration? if someone were to stand in front of your installation today. >> at the moment, it is 12 minutes, but i've been thinking about adding footage over the time because it is going to go through a couple of seasons. >> could you describe a little bit in terms of what your creative process is? >> it is a curtain, and image made up of a curtain, so it is very valuable, and the idea was to use this technology that i've been using for the last 10 years, low resolution imagery, to reflect market street back to the pedestrians walking by. the reason that it kind of works in this environment is that you see people walking by. you see cars going by. you see buses going by, but you
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cannot help we the people are because it is low resolution. you cannot see their faces. you can see the way they walk. you might be able to tell the kind of car going by. >> what do you think passersby will experience? >> i was thinking it was going to be a test of the success of the work if people stop and look. i have noticed in the last few nights that people do stop and look. a certain percentage. one of the things i was playing with was the ambiguity of whether it is alive or not, so people walk by, and they might even move like this back and forth, thinking that they are in the image, and they realize that it is a daytime shot, and that kind of thing. >> thanks for being part of life on market street. >> my pleasure. >> after the lighting of urban reflection, mayor newsom led the party to the corner of seventh street.
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lighting the way down the street were members of the filipino cultural center's youth program, carrying traditional core role lanterns. on the side of the resort hotel is a projection titled "storylines." working with students from the art commission writer's corps program, paul organized a series of images with text captions. they will change every evening until a different -- and tell a different story. one block away, theodore watson has created an interactive installation that crosses over six street. spaces' begins with a photo capture station on the north side of the street that projects your face on to a building on the south side of the street. on opening night, the installation was an immediate hit with the crowd. we talked with the or what said
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about his remarkable installation. >> what inspired you to create this interactive piece? >> the work i typically do is kind of interactive installations or both indoor and also outdoor and public space. for me, what i'm most interested in is how we can use technology to make the city, which is typically quite a static environment architecturally speaking -- how can we make it come alive? >> what i love about your work is there is such sophisticated software and electronics and complex connections that all have to work together to make it successful, but yet, all of that is invisible to the people interact with the work. >> they do not realize there is all these cables and projectors and computers and all this technology behind the scenes, and if you can keep it hidden, it feels like a really magical moment. to me, that is what is to me, that is what is inspiring


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